Enjoying new iPad with keyboard case

Since I got my new iPad 5th generation in a trade-in with my carrier (traded in my old iPad Air, which itself was purchased used after selling my iPad 2 at an auction site) I find that I’ve been using it quite a lot. In fact, I’m using it to create this blog post.

Yesterday I brought just my iPad, and a tiny Bluetooth speaker for extra volume when playing songs for the class, to my weekly volunteer teaching at Hibikinokai. It worked great.

The Logicool keyboard case really makes a difference for productivity on the iPad, as opposed to mostly consuming media and checking email and Facebook.

The tablet features are great, and the keyboard just makes it easier to use for things like writing this blog post.

Some nice things about using the keyboard with the iPad include:

  • There is a special row of iOS keys, so you can easily go to the home screen, bring up your current open apps, do a search, switch languages, bring up the keyboard if you want to, control music, control speaker volume, lock the iPad and more.
  • You can use tab on the keyboard to go to the next field when filling out a form instead of tapping on the next field on the screen (which you can still do, of course – either way is fine).
  • Copy/pasting is easier because in addition to the “tap on screen” method you can use CMD+V on the keyboard. Similarly you can use CMD+L in Safari to go to the address field, CMD+A to select all text and CMD+Z to undo.
  • There is a cool Documents 6 app by Readle which essentially adds a Finder-like feature to the iPad. I understand a Finder-like feature will be standard in iOS 11 too. I used that for class by downloading some YouTube videos for class and keeping them local for playback.
  • The keyboard helps save space on the iPad screen, because when typing it’s not on-screen by default taking up screen space.

So it’s a convenient mix of keyboard and on-screen tapping tablet features.

The only problem I noticed is that when I go back to my MacBook Pro I find myself tapping on the screen now to do some things instead of moving the cursor and clicking!

Since this iPad is the wi-if plus cellular model, it’s also convenient outside. I even have a Terminal app running on it so I can connect to servers in case of a customer emergency.

Anyway, it’s quite fun. I think I’ve used my iPad this past week more than I have all my other iPads together over the past 5 years!

 

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Thinking about getting a new iPad because, why not?

My current iPad is the original version iPad Air. Not all the upcoming iOS 11 features (such as split-screen) are supported on this model because it has gotten old.

So I’m thinking of getting the new iPad 9.7″ model. I also looked at the new iPad Pro 10.5″ model, but functionally they are the same. The only differences are:

  1. The Pro’s CPU is A10 and the regular iPad is A9 (my current one is A7).
  2. The Pro’s screen is 10.5″ and the regular iPad is 9.7″ (in almost the same overall size).
  3. The Pro has a so-called “smart connector” which connects to the new “smart keyboard.”

But the cost is substantially different, and I don’t think the extra cost is worth the Pro. They are both functionally the same.

If I get the wi-fi plus cellular model from Apple Japan directly and, say, pay it off with a zero percent 24 month loan it’s 2,800 yen/month. But then you have to go make a separate contract with a cellular company if you want to use cellular data rather than tether to your iPhone.

I talked to SoftBank – my cell phone carrier – and if I get it from them you get a large monthly discount off of the device, so the total with data sharing and device cost and all their other fees is 3,000 yen/month. Just 200 yen/month and it includes the data contract.

So if I do this, I’ll probably get it from SoftBank and data share with my iPhone 7 Plus.

Bits and pieces: Chako, diet, iPads

Sad news to report about Chako

My neighbor, who had continued to feed Chako every day in secret from her husband, behind her house, said that after the huge 45 year record snowstorm last week, Chako has not yet returned. We strongly suspect she was unable to survive the snowstorm.

Sort of a lonely feeling that if she passed away she had to go like that. But if so, she did live the normal lifespan of a feral cat. Even though feral, she seemed sweet and quiet. We tried our best with trap, spay and release. But she could not get used to people, except for me occasionally “nose-bumping” her.

Purple did return after the snowstorm, and my neighbor continues to feed him.

Some old blog posts and pictures of Chako can be found here: http://lerner.net/tag/chako/

Diet update

I might have gone into a panic over nothing regarding my diet. Since yesterday, in one day, my weight dropped 2.2 kg = almost 5 lb. Obviously there must have been some water retention.

Nevertheless, I think all the high-glycemic foods I’ve been eating (white rice, senbei, corn-on-the-cob) has altered my hunger cycles. Plus rice has a large number of calories. So I’m going to stop eating rice every day and make a couple of minor, non-vegan, changes to my diet.

For example, I ate low-fat cottage cheese yesterday for the first time in 2 years. A container has only 224 calories, but a whopping 34 g of protein, and is very low fat, and very filling. Non-fat dairy is actually allowed on the Ornish program, so I don’t feel this is too far off.

I decided not to add chicken, but I did add some small amounts of fish (sashimi) yesterday and today. That is also very low calorie and filling. I don’t think I’ll wreck my heart trying this for a couple of months. My dietician and doctors all recommended it in fact.

In early April I have my next checkup. If my cholesterol goes up I’ll rethink. Otherwise I might continue to allow small amounts of dairy and fish as part of my diet to help control appetite and keep calories low. Everybody is different. We all have to find our best way.

iPads!

I like the iPad 4 I recently received (thanks again, Dave!) so much I’m thinking of selling it.

Sound contradictory? It makes sense to me, and I think it’s not just “gadget cravings” for the iPad Air.

The iPad 4 is such a huge improvement over my old iPad 2 in visual quality, speed and very importantly in the fact it has Siri, that I find myself grabbing for it even more than my Nexus 7 now. I really enjoy using it, even though it is heavier than my iPad 2.

Since I’ll be making a trip to the U.S. next month, it seems to me an iPad Air with cellular might be a perfect thing to take along. I can get a no commitment one-month contract with tethering in the U.S. and stay connected with all my devices from everywhere, and not bother with renting a mobile wi-fi, or separate phone, etc. The iPad Air would become my mobile hot-spot.

It seems it would be a perfect, utilitarian, light-weight carry along. And in Japan I can use a sharing data contract with my iPhone 5, so it will only be an extra 1,300 yen a month in running costs.

So I think I’ll sell my iPad 4 – and older iPad 2 – and even older iPad 1. I don’t know the combined values, but I think together they will go a long way to covering the cost of the iPad Air. So it seems worth doing.

And that’s my update for today.

iTunes Radio – a nice new feature – and info about skipping songs

Tech tip: rating – complete novice.

One of the new features of the latest iTunes 11.1 – and also found in the iOS 7 upgrade for iPhones and iPads – is iTunes Radio. It’s a streaming music feature that lets you play unlimited songs for free in genres (stations) you can select from – or you can create your own stations based on artist, song or song type. The basic features are at http://www.apple.com/itunes/itunes-radio/.

I think anybody who likes music would enjoy trying it. I assume it works on Windows iTunes as well.

Note: This feature is only available to people with U.S. iTunes accounts. Hint: It doesn’t matter where you physically are – what matters is where your iTunes account is located.

My initial impression was “cool!” Then I got frustrated because I wanted to skip songs that weren’t interesting to me. I really don’t want to hear “This is just another silly love song.”

The problem, though, was that after skipping a few songs I was stuck. It wouldn’t let me skip any more. After that, every time I returned to the station I had to listen to the rest of the last song or I couldn’t go on. It was like being stuck in some sort of song purgatory. I was wondering, “If their purpose is to sell me songs I like, why don’t they let me freely skip over the songs I don’t like?”

Anyway, after some research I realized the rationalization for it, and what the actual limitations are, and it isn’t as bad as I thought. In fact, understanding and working through the limits makes the feature seem very reasonable and fun.

  1. You can skip again after an hour. The limit is 6 song skips per hour per station.
  2. You can always create a similar station and get 6 more skips per hour.
  3. The reason has to do with royalties. Apparently Apple has to pay some kind of royalty whenever a song is played, even if the listener skips and goes on to the next song in the middle.

Understanding how and why it works makes it seem not so bad and, in fact, interesting. Today, while working (yes, I actually did some work today too) I found myself listening to a lot more music than I usually do, outside my somewhat limited collection. It’s a fun feature.

If you have a computer or device that’s compatible I recommend trying it. Your musical horizons will be expanded. For free.